Palestinians’ faults

Letter by John Taylor, London

Surely the first point about Israel is that it is colonising and de facto annexing the occupied West Bank, contrary to the UN and international law. That, in my view, should be the immediate focus of pressure from outside and not the nature of the Israeli state around which debates can easily slip into anti-semitism.

I would suggest, secondly, that the peace movement and the left generally should stop making a cult of the Palestinians.

I say this because they are in part the authors of their own misfortune. Their terrorism, corrupt governance, unwillingness to accept Israel’s existence and, now in Gaza, their religious irredentism have all contributed to the present situation.

So have the refugees, kept in camps for 60 years to make a propaganda point. Just think. About the same time 10 million ethnic Germans were forcibly expelled from central and eastern Europe. In the Punjab alone, a similar number were driven from their homes during the partition of India.

Both events were a disaster for the victims, defensible neither in law or humanity. But would the victims and their families be better off in camps, still demanding the right of return, than as they are now, resettled in their country of refuge?

Thanks, John, for your thoughts. We should point out that Palestinian ‘refugee camps’ in many places have long been small townships rather than tent cities, and that citizenship has been denied to Palestinian refugees and their descendants by Lebanon and several other host states, in contrast to Pakistan/India and Germany in the cases you cite. We invite responses from other readers to your wider points about the degree of Palestinian responsibility for the current situation. – eds